March 19 2010 7:05 p.m.
Stay she says. Stay here with me. You don't have to go away. I have to leave. I have to go away to get better. You could get better here. I don't believe her. But I don't say anything for a while. I just stood there looking at her.
I want to be happy. I want to get better. And I can't do that if I stay here. The words tumbled out accidentally but I couldn't take them back. Then she was thinking, trying really hard to come up with a good response. I realized how hard dealing with me must be. For a while things coast along, but things always crash back into place. A misplaced pause, an incorrect word and I shut her out again, redraw the lines, put the fence back up. And then she remembers: she can't come near me.
She sits there looking at my face for a few seconds, really looking at it. Her eyes give me hope. Maybe... maybe she does see. You can do whatever you want, you can do anything that makes you happy right here. Why would you want to leave? Stay. I'd be so lonely without you, she says. I'm silent. I'm frozen. I don't move. The moment of silence is filled with her sigh of relief. This patched up relationship isn't being ripped into shreds again and she's grateful, she believes that she's finally done something right. But I know that my eyes are sad again, I know that the fence is creeping up from the grass around my feet, I know I'm retreating into my inpenetrable iron cage. She smiles and it spreads across her face. And I want so badly to smile back. I want to make her happiness last, I want her to believe that I'm ok again and that these past few months were all just a nightmare. I want to believe it too. But I can't. We're both desperate, fragile things, assigned roles that we cannot perform.
Wouldn't it be nice to be happy? she says her voice shining along with her face. I agree without speaking, nodding my head and closing my eyes at the ground. I look up to reassure her and I find her eyes staring at me, her smile widening still. I try to arrange my features to return the smile but it keeps sliding off my face and it was like trying to make an ice cream sundae in the sweltering heat. I managed to turn my face into a half-smile. Then she's hugging me and saying that she's so happy I'm staying even though I've said nothing. I can't do anything except stand there and hug her back. But I can't feel her warmth, her words are garbled. We're a million miles apart, I can't reach her, she can't reach me. So I go back to where I live, in the empty space between us. There I fold my legs up and wrap my arms around the fault lines that no one can see...